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Transcript of Anarchism & Environmental Survival*— G. Anarchism and... · PDF file 2014. 11....

  • Anarchism & Environmental

    Survival*—

    by Graham Purchase

  • Anarchism & Environmental

    Survival

    by

    Graham Purchase

    See Sharp Press ♦ Tucson, Arizona ♦ 1994

  • Copyright © 1994 by Grdhnni Put chase. All rights reserved.

    For information contact See Sharp Press, P.O. Box 1731, Tucson, AZ 85702-1731.

    Purchase, Graham. Anarchism & environmental survival / by Graham

    Purchase ; introduction by Chaz Bufe. - Tucson, AZ : See Sharp Press, 1993.

    160 p. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references.

    1. Human ecology. 2. Land use - Environmental aspects. 3. Environmental policy. 4. Green movement. 5. Anarchism. 6. Agricultural ecology.

    ISBN: 0-9613289-8-3 304.28

    First Printing

    Cover graphics by Clifford Harper. Cover and interior design by Chaz Bufe. nicnoi text typeset in 11-point Baskerville. Cover typeset in Optima.

    n ° n aLC‘d'free paPcr wilh *°y-b**ed ¡nk by Thomson-Shore. Inc., Dexter, Michigan.

  • Contents

    Introduction ............................................................................................... 1

    P reface ........................................................................................................ 3

    The Community & the Ecological R e g io n ...............................9

    The Principle o f Bioregional Federation ................................. 17

    Anarchism, Chaos Theory, and the Metaphysics o f N atu re ............................................... 24

    Anarcho-Syndicalism, Technology, and Ecology................... 35

    Anarchism, Ecology, and Human Pop ulation ....................... 49

    Anarchism 8c Social Ecology: A Critique o f Murray B o o k ch in .............................................. 57

    Anarchism, Feminism, and the Green Revolution................71

    Anarchism 8c Animal R ig h ts..........................................................88

    Microlivestock, Economy, and Ecology.................................... 97

    Wilderness and the Human Com m unity................................113

    Anarchism 8c Community Self-D efense.................................. 122

    Anarchist Society 8c Its Practical R ealization........................ 139

    Bibliography .......................................................................................155

  • Introduction

    U n e of the m ost consistently levelled and dam aging criticisms o f anarchists is that they lack a positive vision of the future. A m ore sophisticated and perhaps even m ore dam aging criticism is that an arch ists’ visions o f a free and egalitarian society are hopelessly utopian— that they have no idea of “how to get from h ere to th ere .” Unfortunately, many anarchists have done nothing to co u n ter these criticism s, and som e have actually m ade the situation worse by their insistence that anarchism is an anti- organizational a n d /o r anti-program m atic ideology. This is far from the truth, as a brief look at the writings o f the most outstanding anarchist theorists— Rudolf Rocker, P eter Kropotkin, E rrico M alatesta, M urray Bookchin, et al.— will show. But these dam aging and en du ring myths continue to m ar an arch ism ’s reputation.

    A contributing factor to the en du ran ce o f these myths is the fact that anarchists have produced rem arkably few works over the last half century outlining positive visions o f an anarchist society. Thus, I ’m very happy that See Sharp Press is publishing this m uch -n eed ed book in which G raham Purchase outlines a radically positive, achievable vision of an ecologically integrated anarchist society; ju st as im portantly, he provides us with a num ber of practical steps necessary to the realization that vision.

    In the following essays, G raham deals with virtually every im portan t issue on the anarchist and G reen agendas: bio­ regionalism ; technology and its effects on the environm ent; population; the organization o f work; feminism and its relation­ ship to both anarchism and environm entalism ; chaos theory and its relation to anarchist theory; anim al rights and vegetarianism; and the social ecology of M urray Bookchin. In dealing with these m atters, G raham presents an anarchist vision which seems em inently practical— and so I believe that this book is an

  • 2 Introduction

    important step forward in convincing our fellow citizens that what Graham terms eco-anarchism is a reasonable and desirable al­ ternative to the authoritarianism and environm ental degradation which permeate so many aspects o f daily life.

    It should be emphasized, however, that in this book G raham Purchase is outlining one possible way in which society m ight be reorganized along eco-anarchist lines. It should also be em p h a­ sized that Graham is not advocating a quick fix; if society were to choose the path he outlines, eco-social reorganization would not be an overnight process. Even in die rosiest scenario, it would take decades to undo die social dam age w rought by industrial capitalism and "communism,” and perhaps centuries to undo the environmental damage.

    As well, Graham is not arguing that his vision should be im­ posed upon the rest of us; rather, he is offering his vision in the hope that it will serve as a road map for the voluntary re­ organization of society— or, at the least, will stim ulate oth ers to reconsider their own desires about the type o f society in which they wish to live, and to work toward the realization o f their desires.

  • Preface

    A s a result of the environm ental crisis, the once-unshakable belief that the hum an species should dom inate nature is being challenged on all sides. "Survival" has com e to m ean som ething m ore com p lex than the simplistic notion o f "survival of the fittest" o r the right o f d om in an ce by a "superior" species. Increasing num bers o f people are com ing to see that regional and planetary environm ental health , and hum an survival itself, depend upon a respectful ap proach to nature and to non-hum an life forms. We now know that healthy soils, anim als, forests, grasslands and river systems are biological necessities for hum an survival. Ecological science fu rther tells us that genetic and species diversity, not hom ogeneity, ensures the health and stability o f ecosystems, and that the health and stability o f the Karth itself can be no greater than that o f its com bined ecological regions. O u r contem porary understanding o f survival, then, and the m eans necessary to its realization, is a far cry from the individualistic struggle for existence—"N ature red in tooth and claw"—on ce depicted in elem entary biology texts. H um an survival depends not upon com petition with o th er species (and within ou r ow n), but rather upon the adoption o f cooperative and nurtu ran t ways o f life—a sustainable course o f co-evolution with all living things.

    At the sam e tim e, people are increasingly looking for non­ governm ental ways to solve pressing social and environm ental problem s. T hey realize that it is everyone’s responsibility to create a green er, healthier, and m ore sustainable future for their families and com m unities. People are beginning to plant trees in suburban "green belts," to cam paign against the pollution of local rivers, and to take the time to appreciate the wildlife in their regions. T hey notice that the massive and imperialistic military and econ o m ic ventures of nation states and m ultinational corp oration s are m ore often than not harm ful to the regions in

  • 4 Preface

    which they are imposed. C orporate capitalism, from Tokyo to Berlin seems determ ined to cover the delicate eco reg .o n s o f our living planet with a universal landscape of asphalt highways, golf courses, shopping malls, and theme parks. People everyw here are realizing that our survival is dependent upon environm ental stability, and that the pathological interests of governm ents and multinational corporations pose the single biggest th reat to the

    health of the Earth. Despite the m edia’s ignorant but never-ending attem pts to

    depict anarchy as synonymous with chaos and d isoid er, it is becoming clearer every day that som ething new m ust rep lace the outmoded philosophy of deathly order, greed and d esu u ctio n . Anarchy—literally, simply "no state" or "without a state"—calls for the replacememt of the state and capitalism by federations of economically cooperating, ecoregionally integrated com m unities. Today, anarchism is emerging as die only credible philosophy of survival—whether it’s called "anarchism" or not. Since the collapse of the French Revolution (1 7 8 9 -1 7 9 3 ) two centuries ago , when the first true represen tad ves of anarchy (the enrages) did battle with the forces of clergy, aristocracy and capital, th ere has been an almost unending campaign to slur and m isrepresent the ideas and practices of the organized anarchist m ovem ent. W hen cities or countries are in a state of turmoil and dislocation due to political struggles, econom ic failure, or national calam ity, die journalist never fails to inform the public that "the situation has degenerated into anarchy!" (In fact, the idea that anarchy m eans disorder and chaos has becom e so en tren ch ed that it is so defined in the Oxford English Dictionary!) For this reason , m any people who understand what anarchism really stands for